What does it mean to be a good man? And what are the tough lessons you have to learn along the way? A Reddit thread on the topic of “harsh truths that made you a better man” is attempting to answer these questions.
For many guys, doing the right thing is something they only learned how to do during crisis. “A negative event in your life might not be your fault. It’s still your responsibility,” wrote one comment. “Not your fault, but your problem,” said another. The way we choose to react to a tough situation says a lot more about us than how we act the rest of the time.
For others, learning that life isn’t always a meritocracy is a bitter pill to swallow. “It’s possible to do everything right and still fail,” said one man. “‘Hard work’ isn’t what’s rewarded, profitable work is,” said another. “You are not rewarded by how hard you try to do something, you only get credit for what gets done.” In other words, work smarter, not harder. Hustle culture has got many of us thinking it’s imperative that we spend every waking moment of our lives working, and we’re so busy doing this that we don’t stop to ask ourselves if this is what makes us happy.
On a related note, we have to know our own limits and set boundaries so that other people know what they can expect from us, and when they are asking too much. “I needed to learn to say ‘no’,” admits one guy. “Eventually, it saved me from bad relationships, bad deals, bad friends. Smile, be nice, but say ‘no’ if you have to. This includes saying ‘no’ to promises you made, but can’t keep — it’s not fair to the other person to be strung along with your bullshit.”
For many men, becoming happier involved waking up to the realization that while our struggles might seem big to us, they pale in the grand scheme of things: in fact, the universe is pretty oblivious to our existence. And while that might feel isolating, it can actually refresh our perspective. “The world does not give a shit about me, and that’s ok,” wrote one guy. “In the end, all you have is yourself, be nicer to you,” said another. We all make mistakes, and sometimes that can feel like the end of the world, but it’s important not to punish ourselves too harshly while we work to do better.
And in addition to being kinder to ourselves, many commenters pointed out the importance of being good to other people as well. Here’s one comment which summed it up pretty perfectly: “Life is hard and not fair. Doesn’t mean you have to be as well.”
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